U.S. presidential election, 2004: Republican Campaign Ads

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The original U.S. presidential election, 2004: Campaign Ads file has been subdivided into two parts:

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  • 9 March 2004: "Bush Campaign Seeks Probe of Election Ads" by Liz Sidoti and Sharon Theimer, AP: "A group financed in part by liberal billionaire George Soros will run $5 million worth of TV ads against President Bush that mention the Republican by name, a point of contention among the president's re-election team that argues the spots violate federal law. ... The Media Fund's initial two-week buy, beginning Wednesday in 17 competitive states, will include commercials that criticize Bush's policies and priorities. Bush's re-election campaign plans to ask the Federal Election Commission to investigate. ... 'The rank dishonesty of the Republican position is certainly highlighted by their refusal to condemn the identical activities of Republican groups,' said James Jordan, a Media Fund spokesman."
  • 11 March 2004: "Monopolize The Microphone" by Steven Rosenfeld, TomPaine.com.
  • 12 March 2004: "Key Republicans Admit Anxiety Over Campaign. Some say Bush's team has moved too slowly and has failed to address economic concerns" by Mark Z. Barabak and Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times.
  • 12 March 2004: "Howard Stern's schwing voters. The raunchy jockey is mobilizing his army of listeners against Bush -- and they could make a difference in November" by Eric Boehlert, Salon.
  • 16 March 2004: "Senator and His Allies Keep Up With Tempo of Bush Ads. TV race between incumbent and rivals is close in some key markets, data show" by Nick Anderson, Los Angeles Times.
  • 17 March 2004: "Rove: Kerry Has Taste of Bush Campaign" by Scott Lindlaw, AP: "White House political chief Karl Rove said Wednesday that President Bush had just begun to demonstrate the kind of targeted, multi-front campaign he plans against Democratic rival John Kerry."
  • 22 March 2004 (Edition): " Raising the Volume. It's only March, but it feels like September on the campaign trail. A TIME guide to the suddenly fast and loud presidential race" by John F. Dickerson and Karen Tumulty, TIME: "Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month."

Spoof Ads

Bush-Cheney '04 Inc. Presidential Campaign Ads

  • 26 November 2003: "Presidential Race: Liberal group's ads slam Bush" by J.R. Ross, AP: "The 30-second ad by MoveOn.org is the first the organization has run in Wisconsin as part of its campaign to oust President Bush. The spot, running in 17 cities nationwide, labels the president a 'misleader'," the story stated.
  • 2 February 2004: "White House uses taxpayer money for Medicare ads" posted by Luke Francl, BushOut.tv.
  • 27 February 2004: "Bush Spends $3.6M to Run Ads on Cable TV" by Liz Sidoti, AP.
  • 1 March 2004: "Bush Medicare ad back on CBS" posted by Luke Francl, BushOut.tv.
  • 1 March 2004: "Bush's ad push set for cable, Hispanic TV. President Bush begins his broadcast advertising push Thursday with a million-dollar buy on cable TV, with Hispanic networks to follow" by Liz Sidoti, AP.
  • 1 March 2004: "Rove's Platform" by Russ Baker, Tom Paine.
  • 2 March 2004: "MoveOn.org to Counter Bush's Ad Blitz" by Liz Sidoti, AP.
  • 3 March 2004: "Reaction to the first Bush ads" posted by Luke Francl, BushOut.tv.
  • 3 March 2004: "Bush Re-Election Ads Focus on Past 3 Years" by Liz Sidoti, AP.
  • 3 March 2004: "Bush Campaign Ads Brought to You by Special Interests; Industries That Give to Bush Get Their Money's Worth. Public Citizen Report Outlines the Many Favors Bush Has Given Industries That Bundle Money for Campaign," Public Citizen.
  • 3 March 2004: "Bush-Cheney '04 ads: Desperation" by thirdparty, Daily KOS.
  • 3 March 2004: Talking Points Memo by Josh Marshall: "If you look at the TV ads the president just unveiled today, you quickly see a main -- probably the main -- theme of his reelection campaign: it's not my fault."
  • 3-9 March 2004 (issue): "Attack! Attack! Attack! Note to John Kerry: Win first, apologize later" by Knute Berger, Seattle Weekly. Note: Not an article for the faint of heart.
  • 3 March 2004: "Bush Ad Campaign Ready to Kick Off Expensive Effort" by Jim Rutenberg, New York Times.
  • 4 March 2004: "Will outrage over Bush ads continue?" posted by Luke Francl, BushOut.tv.
  • 4 March 2004: "See Dick Run" by Maureen Dowd, New York Times Op-Ed.
  • 4 March 2003: "Bush ads trumpet leadership" by Glen Johnson, Boston Globe.
  • 4 March 2004: "Bush launches ad campaign" by Kevin Anderson, BBC/UK: "However, his first multimillion dollar dip into the money pot will not be the electoral approximation of shock and awe but rather more about puppies, entrepreneurs and patriotism."
  • 4 March 2004: "Sept. 11 Families Disgusted by Bush Campaign Ads" by Mark Egan, Reuters.
  • 4 March 2004: "Confidence Man. The case for Bush is the case against him" by William Saletan, Slate.
  • 10 March 2004: "Bag Notes on Bush's ads" posted by Luke Francl, BushOut.tv.
  • 14 March 2004: "For Bush, New Role and Different Script" by Dan Balz, Washington Post: "In contrast to those previous runs for office, Bush's reelection campaign has been notable for its quick plunge into attacks on his Democratic rival, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), its defensive tone and the absence of a tight agenda of policy proposals that would animate a second term in office. His first positive ads were modest in describing Bush's accomplishments, and his first negative ad, which began airing Friday, surfaced far earlier than anyone outside his campaign expected."

Anti-Kerry Ads

  • 11 March 2004: "Bush Ads Go Negative; Kerry Strikes Back. Bush Unveils First Negative Ads; Kerry Campaign Takes Offensive, Calls President 'Misleading'," AP: "President Bush unleashed the first negative ads of the general election campaign Thursday, accusing Democratic rival John Kerry of seeking to raise taxes by $900 billion and wanting to 'delay defending America.' ... The Bush ads, unveiled Thursday, will begin airing in 18 states Friday along with radio ads that make the same high-taxes, soft-on-terorrism argument against Kerry. They are the second wave of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign that is designed, through focus groups and polls, to shift voters' attention from Bush's political weaknesses to strengths from talk of joblessness in an ailing economy to a debate over Democratic tax hikes; and on terrorism, from violence-torn Iraq to reminders of his leadership on Sept. 11, 2001."
  • 12 March 2004: "New Bush Ad Assails Kerry on Taxes, War. Campaign Takes a Negative Turn" by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post: "Just one week after launching a wave of positive commercials, President Bush went on the attack with a new ad yesterday, charging that Democratic challenger John F. Kerry would 'raise taxes by at least $900 billion' and weaken the country's response to terrorism and ability to go to war. ... Kerry campaign officials, vowing to let no attack go unanswered, immediately began cutting a response ad for airing today. The commercial will deny any such proposed tax plan and remind viewers that Kerry wants to cut taxes for the middle class, the aides said. ... 'Once again George Bush is misleading America,' the tentative script says, adding: 'Doesn't America deserve more from its president than misleading negative ads?'

Controversial Ads

Bush: Exploiting September 11, 2001

  • 3 March 2004: "Fire Fighters President Says Use of Fire Fighter Images in New Bush Ads Smack of Political Opportunism," U.S. Newswire.
  • 3 March 2004: "Bush Plans Ad Campaign Using 9/11 Imagery" by Terry M. Neal, Washington Post.
  • 4 March 2004: "Furor over Bush's 9/11 ad" by Maggie Haberman, New York Daily News: "The Bush reelection campaign yesterday unveiled its first three campaign commercials showcasing Ground Zero images, angering some 9/11 families who accused President Bush of exploiting the tragedy for political advantage."
  • 4 March 2004: "Bush Exploiting 9/11" by Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet.
  • 4 March 2004: "Bush's 9/11 TV Ads Spark Anger," CBS News/AP.
  • 5 March 2004: "Bush campaign defends 9/11 ads," BBC/UK.
  • 5 March 2003: "Bush under fire for Sept 11 campaign ads" by John Shovelan, ABC/AU.
  • 5 March 2004: "Bush Campaign Defends Use of 9/11 in TV Ads" by Kirk Semple, New York Times.
  • 5 March 2004: "9/11 images in Bush ads hit. Firefighters, kin of victims complain" by Wayne Washington and Anne E. Kornblut, Boston Globe.
  • 5 March 2004: "Has Bush no shame? Relatives of 9/11 victims say the president's new ad campaign desecrates ground zero -- and demand that he pull it off the air" by Geraldine Sealey, Salon.
  • 5 March 2004: "Bush Exploits Photo of Dead Bodies, Despite Ban," Daily MisLead.
  • 6 March 2004: "9/11 Families & Firefighters Call on Bush Campaign To Withdraw Ads Using WTC Imagery. Ask all parties to pledge not to use Sept. 11th images for political campaigns at March 5 press conference," PeacefulTomorrows. See 9-11 Truth Movement.
  • 6 March 2004: "He molests the dead" by Jimmy Breslin, Newsday: "In his first campaign commercial, George Bush reached down and molested the dead. ... That is only the start of the Bush campaign. He has plenty of money and unlimited personal cheapness."
  • 6 March 2004: "The bloody shirt," The Berkshire Eagle.
  • 7 March 2004: "Bush and the myth of great leadership" by Bill Maxwell, St. Petersburg Times.
  • 7 March 2004: "Bush ads exploit tragedy of 9/11," Op-Ed, Capital Times (Wisconsin).
  • 8 March 2004: "Ads keep Bush team on defensive" by Brian Knowlton, International Herald Tribune.
  • 8 March 2004: "Selling Death for Fun and Profit" by William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut.org.
  • 8 March 2004: "Statement of the Family Steering Committee for The 9/11 Independent Commission."
  • 9 March 2004: "Bush owes 9/11 answers, not TV ad" by Marie Cocco, Newsday.com.
  • 15 March 2004 (Issue): "2004 Campaign: A 'Shocking' Stumble," Newsweek: "Another, less publicized aspect of the ad flap: Everyone but the firefighters were paid actors. The firefighters posing in a firehouse was 'stock' film footage of volunteer firefighters -- shot and available for purchase to the general public."
  • Compare this version to the original (cache version), which has since been edited. It previously read "Another less-publicized aspect of the ad flap: the use of paid actors--including two playing firefighters with fire hats and uniforms in what looks like a fire station. 'Where the hell did they get those guys?' cracked Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which has endorsed John Kerry, when he first saw the ads. (A union spokesman said the shots prompted jokes that the fire hats looked like the plastic hats 'from a birthday party.') 'There's many reasons not to use real firemen,' retorted one Bush media adviser. 'Mainly, its cheaper and quicker.'"
  • 11 March 2004: "Squandering the trauma of September 11. Having failed to create consensus, Bush is left with a negative campaign" by Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian/UK.
  • 11 March 2004: "Bush's campaign advisers better call 911" by James P. Pinkerton, Newsday.
  • 12 March 2004: "9/11 images said inappropriate by voters" by Will Lester, Salon: "Undecided voters, by a 2-1 margin, feel it was inappropriate for President Bush's re-election campaign to use images from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in a television commercial, according to a poll released Friday."

Bush: Using Olive-skinned "Stereotypes"

  • 11 March 2004: "Campaign Journal" by Ryan Lizza, The New Republic: "Another Campaign First: Bush's first round of ads became immediately famous for using images of Ground Zero and a flag-draped body being carried away from the rubble of the World Trade Center. ... His newest spot, 100 Days, might soon become famous for another campaign first. It is the first ad to use the image of a dark-skinned man who is obviously meant to be a terrorist."
  • 11 March 2004: "Bush Ads Go Negative; Kerry Strikes Back. Bush Unveils First Negative Ads; Kerry Campaign Takes Offensive, Calls President 'Misleading'," AP: "James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, urged Bush to withdraw one of the new ads because it illustrates the section on terrorism with a picture of an olive-skinned man with bushy eyebrows. ... 'If they wanted to put Osama bin Laden up there that's fine, but using just a face stereotypes,' Zogby said."
  • 13 March 2004: "Group says Bush ad 'profiles' Arabs. Removal of unidentified photo urged" by Julia Malone, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "'It runs counter to everything the president said after [Sept. 11] about not targeting, about not indicting, all Arab Americans,' James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said Friday. ... The complaint is the second in as many weeks from groups who object to the president's use of images from the war on terrorism in his re-election ads."

Republican Advocacy Groups' Ads

Republican National Committee

Citizens United

  • 13 March 2003: "MTV Refuses Antiwar Commercial" by Nat Ives, New York Times: "Supporters of an invasion of Iraq have seen doors slammed on them as well. ... The Citizens United Foundation, a group that ran commercials in 1991 supporting the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, made its own commercial supporting President Bush and a possible war in Iraq. Starring Fred Thompson, a former Republican Senator and an actor now appearing on 'Law & Order,' the spot was produced to counter the celebrity factor of the Martin Sheen [anti-war] spot and others from the antiwar camp."
  • 8 March 2004: "Conservatives Run Ad Parody Against Kerry" by Liz Sidoti, AP: Citizens United, "A conservative group headed by one of former President Clinton's harshest critics is airing an ad that pokes fun at presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry's haircut, designer clothing and property holdings. ... Citizens United, headed by former Republican congressional aide David Bossie, began airing the ad -- a parody of MasterCard's 'priceless' commercials -- on cable and broadcast channels Sunday in select presidential battleground states."
  • 8 March 2004: "New ads call Kerry 'rich liberal elitist'," CNN: "... the 30-second message calls Kerry 'another rich liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he's a man of the people.' ... In the style of a popular MasterCard advertising campaign, the ad lists the Massachusetts senator's expenses -- including a '42-foot luxury yacht' and beachfront estates worth 'over $30 million' -- before calling his alleged claim that he is one of the people 'priceless.' ... Summer Stitz, spokeswoman for Citizens United, told CNN the ad is airing in 'key battleground states' in all regions of the country. It aired Sunday during political talk shows in certain areas, and began airing in all markets Monday, she said. ... Bush is very wealthy as well, and his success in 2000 was credited in part to his identification with the common American. ... Asked repeatedly whether Bush is trying to identify with common Americans as much as Kerry is, Stitz replied only, 'Kerry is making that claim.' She also would not say whether Bush has more of a right to identify with common Americans."
  • 9 March 2004: "US group unveils Kerry attack ads. A US conservative group has released a series of television advertisements criticising US Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. The ads, paid for by a group called Citizens United, condemn Mr Kerry as a 'rich liberal elitist'." See/hear/read the ad.
  • 9 March 2004: "Television Ad Portrays Kerry as 'Priceless' Liberal Elitist. A conservative group's 30-second salvo questions the candidate's populist credentials and makes sport of his wealth" by Nick Anderson, Los Angeles Times: "The new anti-Kerry commercial was conceived by David N. Bossie, a former Republican congressional aide and a longtime critic of former President Clinton. .. 'It's the first salvo of many,' said Bossie, the president of Citizens United. ... 'We just felt it was important that we stand up for President Bush and put who John Kerry is and his record in front of the American people as soon as possible,' Bossie said. ... Bossie called Kerry an elitist. 'Even though he's coming across with this 'man of the people' program, he's anything but,' he said."
  • 10 March 2004: Brian Motopli, writing for The Campaign Desk, supplies a response Kerry spokesman David Wade emailed to the Los Angeles Times' Nick Anderson and other reporters:
"The cost of the Bush economic plan: 3 million jobs lost. The cost of the Bush Medicare bill: $139 billion giveaway to big drug companies. A new president who will reverse George Bush's radical direction? Priceless."
  • 10 March 2004: "Political Groups Spend Millions to Take on Bush in Ad Campaign" by Glen Justice and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times: "Another conservative group, Club for Growth, is expected to run advertisements against Mr. Kerry soon."
  • 10 March 2004: Cursor.org comments: "Pointing out the similarities between a column by David Brooks and a Citizens United ad ("Man of the People") attacking John Kerry, The Daily Howler asks New York Times' editorial page editors: 'Are you surprised to see your brilliant columns turned into dim-wit political ads, paid for by our emptiest operatives?'"

Club for Growth

Grassfire.org Alliance

Log Cabin Republicans

  • 10 March 2004: "LCR Ads Take Bush to Task on Gay Marriage" posted by Chris Lloyd, BushOut.tv: "According to Wednesday's Washington Post, the Log Cabin Republicans, the U.S.'s largest gay Republican group, is launching a one million dollar ad buy in seven swing states and the District of Columbia taking President Bush to task for supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage."
  • 10 March 2004: "Gay GOP Group Challenges Bush on Marriage. Log Cabin Republicans to Air TV Ad in D.C., 7 States" by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post. See same-sex marriage.
  • 10 March 2004: "Same-sex marital woes for Bush" by John Mercurio, CNN: "President Bush draws fire on two fronts Wednesday as he campaigns in must-win Ohio, one of seven swing states where a gay GOP organization -- the Log Cabin Republicans -- is launching an unprecedented TV ad blitz chastising their fellow Republican over his disdain for gay marriage. ... But it's the Log Cabin ad that's sure to draw the most attention, if only because it's the first time the 27-year-old group has run a TV commercial, and it's the most public criticism it's ever levied at a Republican president."
  • 10 March 2004: "Democratic, GOP Groups Target Bush in New TV Ads" by Nick Anderson, Los Angeles Times: "...the $1-million effort by the Log Cabin Republicans are part of an intensifying political ad war in the week since Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts effectively clinched the Democratic presidential nomination. ... the gay Republican effort is something of a surprise. The group's ad will oppose Bush's recent endorsement of a constitutional amendment to ban government recognition of same-sex marriage. ... The president's move infuriated many gay Republicans, who accused him of seeking to use the growing controversy over gay marriages for political gain. Previously, the Log Cabin Republicans had praised Bush as a quiet but effective advocate for tolerance and for the political advancement of the gay community."
  • 10 March 2004: "Log Cabin Republicans Launch First-Ever National Advertising Campaign to Defend the Constitution. Television Ad to Begin in Washington, DC and Seven Swing States" by Log Cabin Republicans. See the commercial.